From Dan Crain, REMERGE Trainer/Pastor
What does reconciliation mean?
It seems as if the word reconciliation is the latest buzzword in church circles lately. While I truly believe it’s a birth of the Spirit to face what has divided us and repent, what do we mean by reconciliation? How do we know we are reconciled to each other?
Dr. Andy Olde in his book, Joining Lives defines reconciliation as “In Him our lives are joined together, not so I can be like you, but so we can be fashioned into a new people, a new humanity, a new way of being together.”
At REMERGE we use the language of joining lives together with those on the margins. This best captures what we mean by reconciliation. But how do we even know this is happening? God has wired me as a relational person and so I see the world in those terms. I have been working on a list for the past seven years of what joining lives with those on the margins means to me relationally.
- It means getting messy and being honest about what divides us.
- It means that we share in each other’s joys and sufferings. I believe this is biggest indicator of whether or not we know reconciliation is happening. Do we genuinely care about each other’s lives?
- It means looking back, acknowledging the past and how it still divides us.
- It means getting in the ring and wrestling and talking.
- It means praying together, listening to one another’s opinions, respecting each other’s thoughts, and not jumping to assumptions.
- It means being intentional about where we spend our time, who we are eating with, realizing that because of homophily, we will always choose what is comfortable to us.
- It means sharing a meal on a regular basis together. If we are not following the example of Jesus of eating together with those on the margins, we have a hard time believing that reconciliation is happening. Like Jesus, eating together is one of the most intimate things we can do together.
- It means advocating on behalf of the voices that we don’t listen to as we seek to make structural change affected by institutional racism.
- It means living out dignified interdependent relationships with people who are different and being changed by their thoughts.
- It means we truly listen to how Christ is speaking to us through our friends that live on the margins. I believe that Christ’s voice is strongest through the voice of those on the margins of the world and if we could just learn to listen to this voice, we would all be better.
- A lot of the times it means showing up weekly, being quiet and just being with the guys not giving any sort of advice or instruction.
After living into the Christ’s ministry of reconciliation with my friends on the margins of society for seven years this is the best list I could come up with. I hope, pray and trust that in another seven years Christ will have opened my eyes to an even deeper understanding of what He is doing in the world.